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    A girl enters a the temporary reception center for refugees at Storskog border station near Kirkenes in northern Norway at the Norway-Russia border on October 13, 2015.

    ‘Russia Warned Us of Refugee Avalanche’ – Norwegian Border Official

    © AFP 2019 / NTB SCANPIX / TORE MEEK
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    A Norwegian border service official believes that if Norway had listened to Russia, it would have avoided the avalanche of migrants on the Russian border, Norwegian media reported Thursday.

    “What is now happening on our border with Russia is not surprising at all… The Russians raised this issue several years ago offering us several means of solving this problem,” Ulf Geran Matisen said in an interview with Norway’s NRK national broadcaster.

    Matisen’s statement could cost him his job but he still believes in the public’s right to know what his government is doing.

    In keeping with a standing procedure introduced in 2012, persons traveling to the Schengen area without a visa have their papers examined first by Russian border officials who then forward them to their Norwegian colleagues.

    If a person has no Schengen visa but has the right to stay in Russia, the Norwegians tell him that he or she is not allowed to enter the country.

    Before November 7, 2015, however, the Norwegians only advised those willing to enter the country to apply for a visa. The Russian side was thus prevented from detaining the migrants who would then have no problem crossing into Norway.

    “The Russians told us that if the document they sent back to them said that the applicant was not allowed to move in, then they would have every reason not to let him go,” Matisen said.

    The Russians proposed this new procedure back in 2012 because they did not want their country to become a transit zone for such ‘travelers’ to Norway, Ulf Matisen added.

    He believes that the western media had distorted the whole picture by accusing Russia of “transporting” the incoming refugees.

    “Russia was looking for every possible ways to solve this problem and it is our fault that the Russian proposal was never accepted,” Ulf Matisen said.

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    Tags:
    border official, Shengen zone, avalanche, warning, migrants, Norwegian Border Service, Ulf Geran Matisen, Norway
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